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wonder boy

Wonder Boy in Monster Land

Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Super Wonder Boy in Monster World in the Japanese Sega Master System version, also known as Super Monster World: Super Wonder Boy in some North American versions and Super Wonder Boy in Monsterland for the Activision conversions) is a 1987 arcade game developed by Westone and published by Sega. It is the sequel to the 1986 game Wonder Boy.

Gameplay

The game marked a drastic change in the way the Wonder Boy series evolved. First, the prehistoric setting that was prevalent in the original game was gone, replaced by a medieval fantasy world. Secondly, the game introduced a number of RPG elements that were unheard of in the first title.

Wonder Boy begins as per the original game—a blonde haired boy wearing a loincloth. Very soon, however, he is equipped with a sword, which is his primary weapon for defeating the opponents that he will encounter. As with the first game, the aim is to get from point A to point B. Unlike the first game, the levels no longer run strictly from left to right—it is possible to move everywhere on the map, and some levels can be rather labyrinthine.

Also new to the game is a trading system. Money is obtained by killing enemies or jumping in specific locations to free coins. This money can be spent to obtain boots (which permit Wonder Boy to run swifter and jump higher), armor (protecting Wonder Boy from various degrees of damage), a shield (which can be used to deflect some projectiles fired by opponents), as well as magic spells and healing potions. There are also inns where the player can obtain useful information for a fee, as well as a drink to replenish a small amount of energy.

The exit to most levels are only accessible by means of a key which is obtained by defeating a boss character somewhere in the level.

Wonder Boy in Monster Land is by far the most difficult title in the Wonder Boy series because there is no continue system nor is there a password system available for the console games. For the arcade version, there is no continue system on the final level. The presence of an on-screen hourglass timer limiting the number of minutes a player can stay in a level also adds to the difficulty of the game.

Conversions

As with the original game, Monster Land was ported to the Sega Master System by Sega and to the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC by Activision. It was the first title in the series to be ported to the 16-bit generation of computers and consoles, with versions available for the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST, also programmed by Images, Inc. and released by Activision. The Activision titles were released under the name Super Wonder Boy In Monster Land.

The Master System version contained fewer variations on the music than in the arcade version, and the ZX Spectrum conversion had no music. Most of the conversions were otherwise identical in terms of content to the arcade original, with graphics adjusted to allow for each of the systems' respective capabilities. A notable difference in the Master System version was the addition of an optional boss called "Mr. Wizard."

Clones

The game has been cloned, hacked and remarketed a number of times over the years - with varying degrees of legality.

The PC Engine saw a conversion of the game in the form of Bikkuriman World, with changes made to the characters to conform to what was then a popular anime series. This version was handled by Hudson Soft, which also did conversions of other Wonder Boy games for the console.

Tec Toy, Sega's distributor in Brazil used the Monster World license and code to produce Mônica No Castelo Do Dragão for the Sega Master System. The game was identical in every way to the source material, but characters were replaced with known figures from the Brazilian comics Turma da Mônica (Monica's Gang). Of course, the game was correspondingly translated into Portuguese for the Brazilian market.

An unlicensed version (by Westone) of Monster World was also produced for the Famicom, under the title of Saiyuki World with Sun Wukong of the Journey to the West tale as the central character. This conversion was produced by Jaleco, and although it was never officially admitted that the game was a port of Monster World, the game's levels and gameplay were one-for-one identical. This game would later have a sequel, known in America as Whomp 'Em.

Arcade hardware

The game ran on Sega's proprietary System 2 hardware, an enhanced version of the System 1 hardware used for the original Wonder Boy. It was based on a Z80 processor running at 4 MHz. Audio was provided by two SN76496 chips, one running at 2MHz and one at 4MHz, with a 4MHz Z80 audio co-processor. The graphics were provided by a raster video unit at a resolution of 256 x 224.

Emulation

The game can be emulated using the MAME emulator, with images of the ROM chips to hand. To date, the emulator only emulates Japanese versions of the arcade machine as well as a hacked bootleg version of the game. Of course, the Spectrum, C64, Amstrad CPC, Master System, Amiga and Atari ST versions of the game can be emulated with suitable emulators for those machines.

Critical reaction

ZX Spectrum version

CRASH magazine awarded the game 88%, Your Sinclair awarded 75% and Sinclair User awarded 90%. All of the magazines stated a belief that the sequel was superior to the original game.

Fan base

Wonder Boy and its sequels have enjoyed a considerable fan base over the years, and the success that this has generated led to a number of sequels produced. Wonder Boy in Monster World was the last title released worldwide, though a sequel, Monster World IV was released in Japanese. The fan base exists, with a number of fan sites around the Internet, including the authors of the MEKA emulator who have campaigned for the Wonder Boy series to be continued on the Dreamcast.

Notes

References

  • Hardcore Gaming 101: Wonder Boy, retrieved from http://hg101.classicgaming.gamespy.com/wonderboy/wonderboy.htm.
  • Killer List of Video Games: Wonder Boy, retrieved from http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?game_id=10463&letter=W.

External links

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